As reported by CBS Sports' Ken Berger, Ray Allen has joined the dark side, the Miami Heat, instead of returning to the Boston Celtics for another go-around with the old crew. Allen agreed to a contract worth half the amount of money that the Celtics were offering over two years. In turn, he has betrayed the Celtics and the former "Big Three" to join the newest "Big Three." With Allen signing in Miami, the Heat-Celtics rivalry has just gotten even warmer and nastier.
For Celtics fans, Allen's signing with the Heat is the ultimate gut-punch while some haven't even had enough time to recover from being bounced in the playoffs by those Miami Heat.
As mentioned by Berger, many feel Allen's decision to leave Boston and join the Heat was in large part due to a soured relationship with Boston's star point guard Rajon Rondo. Allen may have decided that the differences could not be reconciled.
If the two could not co-exist, the Celtics had to let Allen walk. Rondo has a much brighter future and means more to the franchise at this point, despite their flirting with trading Rondo away because of his perceived attitude problems.
Another reason for Allen's departure could be the inclusion of Allen's name in trade talks between the Celtics and the Memphis Grizzles.
With the trade, the Heat get a much needed three-point shooter. The Celtics aren't losing much as they just signed Jason Terry to a multi-year deal, and Avery Bradley will be returning from injury.
While the trade doesn't change the basketball landscape all that much, the move is one filled with bad blood. These are two franchises who have grown to hate each other, especially the last two seasons. If Allen had left the Celtics to join any other team, it likely wouldn't have been that hard to accept for fans.
This is different.
Kevin Garnett's re-signing was thought to bring back the "Big Three" for a last chance at getting another title. When the Celtics lost, it wasn't just emotional for their fans or team, it was emotional for the fans seeing what was believed to be the end of an important era in Celtics history.
It was supposed to end due to old age and retirements, not the abandonment of the franchise and joining of bitter rivals who had just knocked them out of the playoffs.
Whether right or wrong, Ray Allen's decision will boil blood between the two franchises past the point it already has. Next time these teams go at it, pride will be on the line unlike most other regular season games. And another playoff series between the two? Sign me up.